Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Book Jacket
      District 12 is gone, obliterated, and the same goes for almost everyone who ever lived there. Harbored in the supposedly-destroyed safe haven, District 13, Katniss learns that almost all of Panem is in revolt against the Capitol, but the people of the Districts are still afraid and uncertain. The military master-minds at District 13 tell her that only she can serve as a rallying point to them, a reason to continue the revolution. Katniss is forced to choose between becoming the face of the rebellion or allowing the Capitol to regain its hold on the Districts, which she knows would be more crushing and suffocating than ever. The rebellion grows hot all across Panem, and Katniss and her friends are thrown into the thick of it more than once. Ultimately, the fate of Katniss and everything and everyone she has ever known rests upon her own shoulders. The question is whether she will rise to the challenge or crumble under it.
      The author’s tune really changed with this book, and I wasn’t sure I liked the sound of it right from the start. Where the other two books were engaging and rife with action, Mockingjay was full of drama and anti-war sentiments. Ultimately, I completely disagreed with the theme of the book. Many main characters die unnecessarily and the book just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The ending is dissatisfying and makes you wonder what the author’s intentions were all along.
      Nonetheless, I read the book in a day, and it’s definitely worth the read- just don’t expect a grand, magnificent ending that leaves you feeling good.  It’s unfortunate, but if you were a die-hard fan of the first two books, as I was, you too may be changing your tune when you read Mockingjay.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Book Jacket
      Having survived the Hunger Games with a stroke of luck and an unexpected twist of fate, Katniss returns to District 12, finding that life is now completely different- and will likely stay that way from now on. She begins to settle in again, glad to be home, but the Capitol has other plans. Katniss Everden, the “Girl on Fire”, is now spreading that flame to the people of the Districts, and with an almost certain revolution on their hands, the Capitol is forced to act in an unthinkable way. This time, she knows for certain, she’ll never be returning to Districit 12.
      If I thougt the The Hunger Games was riveting, it’s only because I hadn’t picked up Catching Fireyet. The book moves so quickly and is so action-packed that you’re almost afraid to blink for fear you might miss something. The characters become bold and redefine themselves, and the plot thickens and begs you to support Katniss and everyone who surrounds her. Make sure you have absolutely nothing clouding your schedule when you pick up this book, because if you have other things to do besides read, you’re going to be canceling them.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Book Jacket
      Set in the era after the destruction of the United States both politically and largely geographically, The Hunger Gamesfollows young Katniss Everden of District 12 as she is forced into a new life full of celebrities, television broadcasts, and the terror of an almost-certain death. She will have to choose between love and security, humanity and personal safety, and ultimately, life or death.
      The Hunger Gamesbegan 74 years ago when the 13 Districts revolted against the Capitol, a shining city in which thousands lived in the lap of luxury while the people of the Districts starved and froze to death. The Districts were defeated, Dstrict13 was completely annihilated as an example to the others that the Capitol is supreme. The Capitol, seeking to keep the Districts in line, began a yearly ritual called the Hunger Games in which a boy and a girl, ages 12-18 from each District, are tossed into an arena with all of the other “tributes” and are forced to fight to the death. There can only be one victor, and that person is guaranteed food and safety for life, and their home District is showered with gifts of food and other essentials. The stakes are high, and failure to fight, and win, means only one thing: death.
       I couldn’t put this book down. It was absolutely riveting and engaging, with characters who come to life as soon as you turn the first few pages. The concept behind the work is terrifyingly real and worse, almost probable considering the current fragile state of the world. The Hunger Games really opens your eyes to the possible future that awaits if we continue down the road we’re on. There is almost no down-time in the book, and the constant action keeps the book open and in your hands all day. My only complaint would be the slightly unusual style which, at first, might merit the re-reading of a few lines here and there.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Book Jacket

      A man is wrongly and harshly imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving family. He becomes hardened in prison, but is given another chance at life. He tries to redeem himself by becoming a man who spends his life helping others. He is tracked down by a man, very opposite from him, who is trying to put him back in prison. This is the perfect book if you want to read about redemption and forgiveness.

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